You are on page 1of 4

Vibram is the world leader in the technological development and manufacture of high-performance rubber soles, for

the outdoor, work safety, lifestyle, orthopaedic and repair markets.

For 80 years, the unmistakable yellow octagon has been the symbol of a company synonymous with quality,
performance, safety, innovation and design. From the moment we created the first rubber sole for mountaineering,
Vibram has become a benchmark in the footwear market. Vibram soles derived from a desire to boost safety and
protection are known all over the world, and are the result of a constant commitment to research and development.

Behind every Vibram sole lies in-depth study of the specific performance characteristics required of each particular
application, with a view to meeting a three-fold quality objective and guaranteeing maximum performance, comfort
and durability. To ensure this, tough static and dynamic tests are conducted both in the laboratory and in action by
the Vibram Tester Team.

A STORY OF INNOVATION
The Vibram story began in 1936, when Vitale Bramani (an Academic of the Italian Alpine Club), on his return from a
mountaineering ascent that ended in tragedy, came up with the idea of making footwear soles using the same
technique employed for making vehicle tyres. This stroke of genius led to the dbut of the first soles branded Vibram
a combination of the inventors first name and surname and the famous Carrarmato sole that revolutionised both
mountaineering and the world of footwear, allowing for unprecedented performance in terms of abrasion resistance,
traction and grip.

Over the years, important new developments, product launches and technology patents have shaped the history of
Vibram, a company that has shown an impressive ability to innovate and keep pace with change. The launch on the
market of Vibram FiveFingers, in 2006, marked a major turning point for the business, bringing it closer to the end
customer and consolidating its leading position on markets worldwide.

The Vibram headquarters, which remains the powerhouse of the business, is in Albizzate, in the province of Varese. It is
here that most of the companys industrial design and development activities are carried out, in order to guarantee
reliable, consistent quality standards for customers, wherever they are. Vibram operates in more than 120 countries
worldwide, with commercial and industrial facilities in the USA, Brazil and Japan, as well as in China, which in 2009 saw
the inauguration of the Vibram Technological Center, a futuristic research centre for the testing and development of new
products. The two Vibram flagship stores, on the other hand, can be found in Milan and in Boston.

TIMELINE

1935 Six mountaineers lost their lives during an ascent in which Vitale Bramani also took part. The tragedy was
partly due to the lack of adequate footwear to tackle mixed surfaces, the extreme cold, the ice and the large amount
of snow.

1936 This tragic event prompted Vitale Bramani to engineer a sole able to provide excellent traction on mixed
surfaces, using vulcanized rubber technology and developing the now famous Carrarmato design that remains one of
the most popular soles with mountain enthusiasts to this day.
1937 The dbut of Vibram Carrarmato, destined to revolutionise mountain climbing and the world of footwear.

1947 Vitale Bramani opened his first factory, called Gomma Tecnica. Located in Gallarate, it initially employed 40
people.

1954 The conquest of K2


A team of Italian climbers, guided by Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni and equipped with special climbing boots
made by the Dolomite company featuring Vibram soles, conquered K2: this major achievement was celebrated by the
international outdoor community, and marked the advent of specialised footwear, with different models used for each
specific stage of the expedition: trekking, approach, altitude, high altitude, etc.

1957 Vitale Bramani moved the factory from Gallarate to Albizzate, and changed the name to VIBRAM (an acronym
derived from VItale BRAMani).

1965 Vibrams arrival in North America. "Quabaug Rubber Co., a long-established rubber company, acquired the
exclusive license to manufacture Vibram soles for the North American market. During this period, the company had 11
dealers worldwide.

1967 Vibram Security


Vibram entered the Safety Footwear sector with the launch of the Security model, made from a nitrile-based mix
resistant to oily substances. Security was the first sole to be guaranteed for the entire duration of the shoe.

1969 Golden plate


It was on the 1100 Montagna Suole and 1100 Montagna Tacco series of soles that the yellow plate first
appeared, highlighting the innovative new gold brand mix. This octagonal plate was in time to become the symbol
of the company.

1984 Vibram Evaflex


Vibram made its dbut in the Dress & Casual sector with the launch of Evaflex, an ultra-light, EVA-based sole
designed to guarantee maximum comfort for casual footwear.

1988 Vibram Grip


Presentation of Grip, the first rubber sole with maximum grip, designed for free climbing and destined to be used by
the sports top champions.

1994 Vibram Ecostep


Presentation of Ecostep, an innovative eco-mix incorporating production waste, able to cut wastage and reduce the
use of new materials by up to 30%.

1989 Vibram Gumlite


Launch of Gumlite", a highly resistant expanded rubber mix, 30% lighter than traditional rubber.

1999 Vibram Tester Team


The Vibram Tester Team was created with a view to putting Vibram products to the test in the most difficult,
prohibitive situations, making a further contribution to the companys on-going commitment to research and
development.

2004 VSM Technology


Presentation of VSM Technology, an innovation for supermoto racing, with a rubber sole and interchangeable sliders
able to offer superior performance and flexibility compared to the existing solutions on the market.

2004 The dbut of Vibram FiveFingers, an authentic second skin glove for the foot that has revolutionised the
concept of walking barefoot.
2006 Vibram FiveFingers was launched on the international market, where it has become an icon of minimalist
footwear.

2008 Vibram Flagship store in Milano


In 2008, Vibram opened its first flagship store, in Milan, offering a showcase for the brand in the fashion district of the
city. Visitors to the store can not only try out all the Vibram FiveFingers models, but also have the chance to admire a
number of items from the brands history, such as advertising, soles and catalogues, as well as to discover all the
companys products.

2009 Vibram China Technological Center


A symbol of Vibrams investments in the field of research and innovation, the Vibram China Technological Center
was inaugurated on 9 April before an audience of Italian and Chinese political authorities. Equipped with a
Performing Test Center, a futuristic facility for the testing and development of new products, the Center has the two-
fold aim of expanding the range of Vibram technologies and strengthening cooperation with other operators across
the sector by building up an effective network of qualified partners.

2012 Vibram flagship store in Boston


After the first flagship store in Milan, Vibram opened a second single-brand store in Boston, in a historical building on
Newbury Street, in the heart of the city, lined with a wealth of quirky bars and restaurants. As in Milan, the Boston
flagship store also offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy an authentic "Vibram" experience.

2013 Worldwide launch of the Vibram Megagrip mix, which has revolutionised grip standards on wet surfaces
outdoors.

2014 Smart Moving Lab


Vibram and Lenovo joined forces, combining technologies to create the first smart shoe prototype.

2015 Vibram Sole Factor


The aim of the Vibram Sole Factor project was to focus attention on the importance of the sole for shoes, as a
distinctive, functional component as well as an element of style. The Vibram Sole Factor project, launched on the
occasion of EXPO Milano 2015, offers the opportunity to personalise each shoe with a different, unique type of sole,
depending on the performance the user is looking for, and his or her individual preferences. This travelling project
has taken Vibram to a number of cities in Europe and the USA, thanks to a special truck equipped with an on-board
workshop with specialised Vibram shoemakers.

2016 Vibram Arctic Grip


From the Vibram R&D laboratories comes the revolutionary Vibram Arctic Grip technology, offering real innovation in
terms of grip on icy surfaces especially on wet ice). Using only Vibram rubber, excellent grip performance on ice is
guaranteed, without having to rely on accessories external to the footwear.

2017 Vibram Carrarmato design 80 Anniversary.

VIBRAM IN FIGURES
Over 40 million soles produced by the company every year
Over 150 sole models developed every season
About 120 countries worldwide where the brand is present
Over 1,000 Vibram partners worldwide
Over 800 people employed worldwide (250 in the headquarters in Albizzate, 200 in China and 350 in the US).
VIBRAM WORLDWIDE

Vibrams industrial design, strategic and top management activities, as well as the development of new technologies and
products, are concentrated in the companys headquarters in Albizzate, in the province of Varese, in order to guarantee
all partners the same level of quality and reliability. In the USA, Vibram has sales, R&D and product testing facilities. The
company has a license holder in Brazil, while China is home to the futuristic Vibram Technological Center.

Vibram SPA: Headquarters / Albizzate (Varese, Italy) (R&D Production- Marketing Sales -Test Center - Design)
Vibram USA: Branch / Concord (USA near Boston) - (Marketing Sales -Test Center - Design)
Vibram USA: North Brookfield (Massachusetts): Production
Vibram China: GuangZhou (Vibram Technological Center)
Vibram Japan: Marketing & Sales
Vibram Brazil (license holder): Production - sales